Ron Blair pleads guilty to charges connected to same murder he w - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Ron Blair pleads guilty to charges connected to same murder he was acquitted of, released from jail

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

A Columbus man walked out of the Muscogee County jail Friday afternoon after pleading guilty to charges connected to a murder he was found not guilty of five months prior.

In July, Ron Blair was acquitted for the murder of Keon Coleman. Blair admitted to shooting Coleman during an argument but claimed it was in self defense.

During the trial the state and the defense allegedly decided to split two charges, Murder and Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, from the original indictment and try them at a later time.

Once the state sought to take Blair back to trial on the separated charges, Blair's defense team claimed it was double jeopardy.

"Had we gone forward with that argument, I don't know what the judge would have done. The state could appeal that," defense attorney Mark Shellnut said.

In an effort to avoid alengthy process that could last upwards two years trying to fight the charges all the way to the Supreme Court, Blair's defense made a deal with the state.

"To reduce the murderto a charge that would allow us to negotiate some type of deal for a short prison or short jail term," defense attorney Stacey Jackson reported.

The plea deal includes a reduced charge to Voluntary Manslaughter and Possession of a firearm by a convicted Felon.

For the Voluntary Manslaughter charge, Blair was sentenced to 20 years in prison. He will serve 20 months and the rest on supervised probation. He was also sentenced to 5 years to serve 12 months on the Possession charge; but, he didn't sit in jail a day longer.

"Our client should be released from jail [Friday] afternoon," Jackson proclaimed.

During the hearing Blair apologized to the victim's family.

Upon being released from jail, Blair is to have no contact with the victim's family, pay a $2,000 fine and waive his fourth amendment rights.

The fourth amendment waiver means Blair, his home, and car can be searched by authorities for any reason without cause.

The 33-year-old is also banished from the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit.

Blair is not allowed to live or visit any of these six counties:  

Chattahoochee County
Harris County
Marion County
Muscogee County
Talbot County
Taylor County

His attorney's would not elaborate on where he and his six children planed to live once he was released.

Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Cooley was not immediately available after the hearing. 

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